Background on the Goldstone report: The Goldstone report came out a few months ago as the first official UN investigation of the claims that Israel purposefully targeted civilians during its January 2008 battering of the Gaza strip.
The Goldstone report found that indeed Israel, on a multitude of occasions, deliberately targeted civilians or civilian infrastructure, and that it failed to substantiate in any way its claim that it was actually targeting “hidden” or “embedded” militants (in a given hospital, school, or apartment complex that was blown up).
The report was over 500 pages, and it also roundly criticized Hamas, whom it investigated as well. It found that Hamas had also deliberately targeted civilians with its Qassam rockets. The leader of the investigation committee was Justice Richard Goldstone, a Jew himself who has a well-respected history as former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as playing a leading role in the inquiries over South Africa’s political violence in 1994.
So the report found that Israel had targeted civilians in many instances (for details, see here). Note that the targeting of civilians for political purposes is precisely the defninition of terrorism.
Israel’s reaction (read about it here)
So how did Israel respond to the UN investigation?
a) by refusing to cooperate, b) by insisting that it had already conducted its own investigation and found no wrong-doing, c) by declaring, after investigation’s conclusions came out, that the entire report was “a distorted, false, and irresponsible report.”
What the Israeli state did not do is respond to any of the substance of the report. The report is apparently, for Israel, so “distorted” and “false” that it has no onus to actually respond to any of the findings of its investigations. It’s rather like an accused murder criminal pleading not guilty “judge I didn’t do it I swear” but refusing to provide an alibi. It wasn’t me, but I’m not telling you where I was that night either.
The bodies are certainly there though: over 900 civilians were killed, over 400 were women and children. Hospitals, schools, chicken factories, power plants, sewage treatment plants, water filtering plants, harbors, mosques, and apartment buildings full of inhabitants were all blown up during that long month.
If all of these were for legitimate reasons, shouldn’t Israel need to tell the world why exactly they were legitimate targets? Israel did, after all, sign the Geneva accords, which were designed just after WWII in order to protect innocent peoples from having to suffer the illegitimate destruction Hitler brought down upon European Jews, among others.
So if Israel is insisting that it is on the right side of the law, and not on the side Hitler was on (or would have been, had there been Geneva Accords at the time), then doesn’t it need to tell us why?